Scottish singer-songwriter Amy McDonald returns with eleven new songs that once more showcase her brand of fun, upbeat indie tunes, kicking off with the lead single ‘Dream On’, an energetic pop song that is an instant favourite thanks to its unashamed poppiness. ‘Under Stars’ is a little more soaring but its rocking swagger offers a distinct flavour to the opener, but is no less catchy. Second single ‘Automatic’ follows which is not quite as memorable as single number one but has a great attitude to it and a hooky chorus.
‘Down by the Water’ is a more soulful addition to the album, a slow call-out section with gospel undertones suggesting this will be a sing-a-long live favourite. ‘Leap of Faith’ which follows is another up-tempo bouncy number held together by McDonald’s loveable vocal style and its driving pace, with the lyrics continuing the water theme set up in the preceding track. ‘Never Too Late’ is a soaring power ballad with some very empowering lyrics and a subtle and peaceful production style that gives room for the words to breathe.
‘The Rise & Fall’ has shades of the opening song and will get you singing along with its chant-able titular chorus quite quickly whilst follow-up ‘Feed My Fire’ is similar in its hooky nature and feels like it could well be her next single thanks to its up-tempo and happy feel and catchy style. ‘The Contender’ continues the theme of strong mid-tempo ballads that get your foot-tapping. ‘Prepare to Fall’ is another of my favourites on the album, a well written and stirring song that resonates lyrically and builds musically. The album wraps up once more in sing-a-long fashion with the stirring ‘From the Ashes’, tying up a collection of eleven great singable pop-indie songs that are just as good as anything from her previous albums. Welcome back Amy! (7.5/10)